Party Boat Evacuated After Collision

Twenty-two passengers had to be evacuated after the 70-foot catamaran came into contact with the Townsend’s Inlet bridge and took on water.

The Starfish took on water after a collision with a bridge, prompting a rescue action from good Samaritans, the Coast Guard, and tow vessels. Coast Guard Mid-Atlantic Region

Normally, summertime boating accidents are chalked up to wild tourists partying it up, but even the best in the business sometimes find bad luck. Twenty-two passengers had to be rescued off the fishing head boat Starfish in Sea Isle City, New Jersey as the vessel began to take on water near the Townsend’s Inlet bridge.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, “Starfish reportedly collided with the Townsends Inlet Bridge and suffered a gash in the starboard hull, causing a few compartments to flood.”

A good Samaritan helped evacuate passengers off the sinking ship to which the Coast Guard tweeted, “GREAT WORK by good SAM who helped remove 22 passengers from charter boat STARFISH after the boat began taking on water near Townsend Inlet Bridge, NJ. GS took people to docks in Sea Isle City. No reported injuries or pollution. Commercial salvage on scene dewatering.”

Why the vessel struck the bridge remains under investigation, though local insight could shed some light.

“According to my friend, there is bridge structure under the water that sticks out and most likely caused the problem,” offered local Captain Sean Reilly. He also added “It was a full supermoon tide flooding which could have shoved him right into the bridge. It’s a pretty narrow bridge opening.”

head boat rescued
A commercial tow boat assisted in the recovery and dewatering of the 70-foot fishing boat. Coast Guard Mid-Atlantic Region

A Beloved Fishing Vessel

The Starfish has brought much joy to anglers over the years and patrons are wishing for a speedy recovery. On Facebook, Carin Schwalb Hickey stated, “For the 20 years I was at Sea Isle in the summer, my brother, myself, and our friends on the bay at 82nd would make sure we jumped in the bay and had our floats ready so we could ride the wake that came from the old Starfish as it went by. Now my littles wait eagerly to see the Starfish go by so they can wave and cheer.”

The Starfish also released its own hopeful statement.

“Thank you for the kind messages, calls and comments we have received so far regarding the incident this afternoon. We are hopeful however the boat does have damage and will be inoperable for some time. All passengers, mate and captain are okay. If you have upcoming scheduled trips we will be reaching out one by one, please give us some time to do so. We will be back!”

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